Man­ning de­nies charges in mem­o­ra­bilia suit

The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT) - - SPORTS -

An an­gry and emo­tional Eli Man­ning has de­nied pro­vid­ing fake game-used mem­o­ra­bilia to a col­lec­tor, in­sist­ing he will be vin­di­cated. Man­ning ad­dressed the ac­cu­sa­tions on Thurs­day.

An an­gry and emo­tional Eli Man­ning has de­nied pro­vid­ing fake game-used mem­o­ra­bilia to a col­lec­tor, in­sist­ing he will be vin­di­cated.

Man­ning ad­dressed the ac­cu­sa­tions on Thurs­day af­ter a plain­tiff in a 2014 law­suit re­cently filed a mo­tion to com­pel tes­ti­mony that in­cluded an email from Man­ning to a team equip­ment man­ager ask­ing for two hel­mets that could pass as game-used items.

The two-time Su­per Bowl MVP re­fused to dis­cuss the specifics of the civil case, which is sched­uled to go to trial in Septem­ber in state Su­pe­rior Court in Ber­gen County,

“I will say I have never done what I have been ac­cused of do­ing,” Man­ning said at a Giants off­sea­son avail­abil­ity. “I have no rea­son nor have I had any rea­son to do any­thing of that na­ture. I have done noth­ing wrong and I have noth­ing to hide, and I know when this is done ev­ery­one will see it the same way.”

Man­ning said he can han­dle peo­ple at­tack­ing him for his play. At­tack­ing his in­tegrity is some­thing else, and his voice re­flected that he was up­set.

“I think my track record of how I have han­dled my­self since I have been here in New York since 2004 speaks for it­self,” Man­ning said. “I have tried to do ev­ery­thing with class and be a standup cit­i­zen. That’s what I have done.”

Sports mem­o­ra­bilia col­lec­tor Eric Insel­berg of Short Hills sued Man­ning, Giants co-owner John Mara and oth­ers in 2014, al­leg­ing they en­gaged in a scam to sell fake “game-worn” equip­ment for profit. He also asked that the NFL team be held ac­count­able for the lies that led to his in­dict­ment on fed­eral changes that ru­ined his busi­ness.

Sched­ule re­leased

One of the spoils of be­ing cham­pion: The New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots will kick off the NFL sea­son on Sept. 7 by host­ing the Kansas City Chiefs.

New Eng­land earned that honor with its record come­back to beat At­lanta in the Su­per Bowl. Its open­ing op­po­nent in a Thurs­day night game won the AFC West last sea­son.

The Fal­cons visit Chicago in their first game.

The rest of the open­ing week­end will fea­ture what seems like a yearly oc­cur­rence, with Dal­las host­ing the New York Giants on Sun­day night. They fin­ished 1-2 in the NFC East in 2016.

On Mon­day night, New Or­leans is at Min­nesota, fol­lowed by the Charg­ers, in their first game rep­re­sent­ing Los Angeles since 1960, at Den­ver.

Five games will be held abroad, be­gin­ning with Bal­ti­more vs. Jack­sonville in London on Sept. 24. The next week, Mi­ami hosts New Or­leans. In Week 7, the Rams host the Car­di­nals, fol­lowed the next week by Min­nesota vs. Cleve­land.

New Eng­land is the vis­i­tor against Oak­land at Mex­ico City on Nov. 19.

Thanks­giv­ing’s tra­di­tional games will have Min­nesota at Detroit and the Charg­ers at Dal­las. In prime time, the Red­skins will be home for the Giants.

Christ­mas week­end will be busy. Two Satur­day matches have In­di­anapo­lis at Bal­ti­more in late af­ter­noon, Min­nesota at Green Bay at night on Dec. 23. Most of the rest of the sched­ule will be played on Dec. 24, with no night game. On Christ­mas Day, Pitts­burgh will go to Hous­ton in a late-af­ter­noon matchup, fol­lowed by Oak­land at Phil­a­del­phia.

The sea­son ends when 2017 does, on Dec. 31.

Pierre-Paul surgery

Giants de­fen­sive end Ja­son Pierre-Paul says the in­jury that side­lined him late last sea­son was more se­ri­ous than a sports her­nia.

Speak­ing at a team avail­abil­ity, Pierre-Paul said sur­geons fixed two spots in his ab­domen and two in his groin in De­cem­ber.

The 28-year-old, who was signed to a four-year, $68 mil­lion con­tract in the off­sea­son, said he is run­ning and tak­ing part in ev­ery ac­tiv­ity at the team’s OTAs, which started Tues­day. He isn’t sure whether he will be ready for mini­camp and train­ing camp.

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